On Saturday, December 7th, several dozen animal rights activists with Caring Activists Against Fur (CAAF) and The Animals Battalion staged an anti-fur protest at Bergdorf Goodman, a luxury department store in Manhattan. In spite of pending legislation that would ban the sale of fur in NYC and the decision by Macy’s & Bloomingdales to close their fur departments, Bergdorf’s refuses to take fur off of its racks. The protest attracted the attention of thousands of pedestrians on 57th Street and Fifth Ave, the epicenter of Manhattan’s holiday shopping district.
In March, 2019, the Speaker of the New York City Council, Corey Johnson, introduced legislation to ban the sale of new fur products. In spite of widespread support among New Yorkers for a fur ban, the bill stalled after a prominent black preacher in Harlem, Reverend Johnnie Green, decried it as racist.
In op-eds published in New York City newspapers, African American animal rights activists criticized Reverend Green, who was hired by the fur lobby, for using racism to oppose a fur ban. In a Daily News opinion piece Jabari Brisport, a public school teacher running for New York State Senate, wrote “I found it insulting that the fur trade would use my community as a smokescreen. . . I’ve marched with Black Lives Matter in Charlottesville and gotten hit with tear gas by white supremacists. I’ve been arrested while protesting a luxury housing development in Crown Heights. I know what a threat to the black community looks like. This fur ban ain’t it.”
Energized by the recent passage of a fur ban in the state of California, Voters for Animal Rights, a NYC-based advocacy group, has vowed to continue lobbying NYC lawmakers in support of the Council Speaker Johnson’s legislation. At the same time, animal rights groups, including CAAF, Animals Battalion, Total Liberation New York and PETA, continue to target prominent retailers selling fur, including Canada Goose, Nordstrom, Woolrich, Fendi, the Fur Source and Paragon Sports.